The seeds for Minocqua Winter Park were planted more than fifty years ago by a circle of friends. These “pioneers” discovered the exhilaration that comes with skiing amid the still landscape of Wisconsin’s North Woods. With each season their passion for the sport grew and they wanted to share the joy it inspired in them with others. By devoting many hours of labor and pooling their resources, soon a series of trails took shape followed by a modest downhill course. They called it Squirrel Hill. Just as Minocqua Winter Park is today, Squirrel Hill was a place where people can embrace the often long Wisconsin winters finding fellowship while skiing and other “silent sports” of the season. But, in the seventies, development of downhill ski resorts were on the rise as were associated costs to run them and sadly, Squirrel Hill was one of several operations to close.
The hills and trails weren’t silent for long. It wasn’t more than a year or two before a new group of old friends returned to Squirrel Hill. Several were sons and daughters of the original founders. For the next several years, the second generation of Squirrel Hill skiers continued the tradition set by their parents. Along with their growing families, they started their own ski club. An existing structure became the clubhouse. Members both paid for and performed the general upkeep and all trail grooming. In 1981, the group formed the Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation Inc. The non-profit organization has operated and cared for Minocqua Winter Park for almost 30 years now. The park serves several thousand winter sports enthusiasts each year, making a significant contribution to the local economy.
Today, Minocqua Winter Park is one of the most popular Nordic Center’s in the Midwest. 80+ kilometers (about 50 miles) of trails are impeccably groomed by an experienced staff using state of the art equipment including a new Pisten Bully groomer! 10,000 visitors come to the park each season to cross-country ski, and snowshoe amid the solitude and beauty of 6,500 acres of wilderness area. Right outside the heated Chalet is the 600ft., lift assisted, Squirrel Hill Snow Tubing Runs and our new and improved ice skating pond making Winter Park a true winter park! MWP’s edge on the competition is its center on the family, a professional staff and most importantly, it’s superior grooming. The Park still relies on a solid base of volunteers, a foundation laid back in the 1950’s by a circle of adventurous friends.